Milestones in the city's special education history were remembered on Saturday.

The Hungerford School for special education held a reception to celebrate its 50th Anniversary.

Former graduates and other members of the special education community spoke about the history of developmental disabilities on the island.

Talks featured a presentation on the Willowbrook School, the notorious state run institution, known for its inhumane treatment of people living with intellectual disabilities. 

Organizers say it is important for the community to recognize how far society has come in special education. 

"We wanted to make sure that the staff and that the community and parents, never forget Willowbrook. America's dirty little secret." said the Principal Dr. Mary McInerney.

"Uncovering the horrific stuff that was going on at Willowbrook, because of that, that is why this school was founded." said Vanessa Gonzalez.

One of the poeple who helped put a national spotlight on the Willowbrook school was Geraldo Rivera.  He also spoke at the celebratory event.